This weekend a friend of mine visited me to listen my playback and there was a very illustrative occurrence. We listening my audio and everything was like it should be in the program. He was visiting my last time in 2002-2003, before the Macondo was complete and before Melquiades were even conceived, so it was fun for him to listen 8-feet-tall 6-chennnal installation… from 6.8feet (!!!) that acts like a single driver transducer.
What I heard the playback in my view did not do specifically well this day (I always blame electricity) but I played mostly FM recordings and it was near-tolerable. Then there was in interesting development. We were listening a live BSO broadcast from Tanglewood and then, when the concert was over he asked to play the recording of this concert. I did and he commented on the difference between the live transmission and the recorded track. I replied that he shell not hear any differences. He disagreed…
I have to make know that my visitor (his name is David) is not one of the Yahoos who love to hear audio and run mouth brainlessly. He actually hears the things, have well bread discrimination in audio and have quite advanced listening culture. – I do value his opinion and his judgment. We not always agree and do have differences in opinions but what I greatly appreciate about David is that when I ask him about specifics about our disagreement then never fails to go into all necessary depth to make his finding demonstrable and comprehensible. This is a very rare quality among audio people. Most of the audio people, I called them idiots, have no opinion but the juts recite the pre-fabricated for them cookie-cutter micros judgments and when I hear then open this mouth about audio subjects I developed a sudden temptations to vomit. It was like a month or so a big time industry person (he asked to keep his “famous” name private) visited me and informed me that my playback has honk sound. I, knowing that Macondo has ZIRO honkines, insisted him to point me a single and specific sound or tone that in his view would be honk-associated. I proposed him to play as much music as his wish and I challenged him to “show me the honk”. He was not able but still insisted that Macondo sounded like a honky horn system. Since he made those accusations but was not able to point a single tone that would call “honky horn sound” I terminated the listen and sent him out. I concluded that he was just an idiot who do not deserve my attention. David is very much not like this. He is very much not BS person and besides having much more exposure and taste in audio then most of “big name” players David is always very explicit in his assessments rational.
I have to say that when people visit me I try do not listen my own playback. I know how it sound more they anybody else and I more interesting to head my playback by the ears and awareness of my visitors. Some people are locked-in, not-communicative and do not offers this chance. Some are more extravert-listeners and give a great privilege to expose own listening awareness to others. So, when David claimed that my FM recorded tracks were different from live broadcasts I was alerted that something is going on. I know that difference and it was not the one that David reported and it was alerting. I took note. Then, after some listening, I asked David what kind problems he heard with playback. He said that if he would go nut-picking then he would point out the “narrowish” amplitude of the colors that my system uses to portray sound; it was identically narrow with digital in analog souses. That, as I feel, was a major blow in my view about my playback accomplishments.
I did not become defensive and “insulted” as most of the audio cretins usually do. I did not behave like that fucking idiot from Oswalds Mill who kissed my ass before and who “flipped” after I visited him and informed him that his playback sounded horrifying. The poor thing was so scared and so panicked that he did not even ask me specifics about what and why the things were wrong with his sound. Now this idiot is running among his crones - the idiots similar to him - telling them the tale that Romy the Cat is the Osama Bin laden’s conestoga wagon driver…
Anyhow, I did not become defensive but I very much disagree with David’s assessment that my playback is palette-challenged. I said literally the flowing:
“David, it is not the ego trip by my very objective and very un-implicable view that color palettes that Macondo-Melquiades are cable to produced at very wide margin more advanced then anything I am familiar in audio. So, (considering the dynamic range at 110dB sensitively and harmonic integrity Macondo-Melquiades are able to support) the amplitude of colorful details iwith Macondo-Melquiades is absolutely gargantuan. I do challenge you to name any other configuration of amplifiers and speakers that in your view has wider spectra of corrects colors then what Macondo does”
David names a few configurations. I know them. I also knew that I specificly was looking in those named configurations for the color-power and I know that Macondo’s results are so advaonced that Mocondo is even very remote from any competition with the named examples. So, I know that something was wrong I should not have disagreement with David in THESE issues. I proposed him to debug my playback to go to the bottom of the “colors deficiency” disagreement.
I made a number of know to me adjustments in Melquiades operation points and in Macondo setting. David did acknowledge them but the changed were not in the direction of the colors amplitude. I proposed to David to hear my play via headphones driven by my preamp. He reported that the problem did not go away. So, the room the amps and the acoustic system were out of accusations. Then, since my digital is two-box (sourse and external D/A) I switched to phonostage. The colors were not there. At that time I have only phonostage and prams in signal path. I know that phonostage was not the problem. The “End of the Life” phonostage has as enormous color power, as much as it is possible to have in sound reproduction. The preamp and electricity were the only thighs that left to blame. David insisted to hear his own “super” headphone; we went to his car and got them. “It is identical - no colors result” – he commented even though he was very surprised to discover that overall sound I head in his headphone was very identical to the sound the whole Macondo had in my room…
I have means to run my preamp from DC power and it was what I did. David, sitting in headphones reported that there was no diference in colors when I went with buttery supply on my preamp. Well, the only thing left is phonostage and I figured that it is electricity fucked it up. I went to my closet and among an army of different power devises I pulled the 1936 RCA-made 100W isolation transformer that I sometimes use when power go notoriously south. I plugged the phonostage to the isolation transformer and… David suddenly began to laugh. The sound was instantaneously fixed with the whole spectra of the colors coming back to the duty. We pushed the sound back via Macondo and it was a day and night. David was pleased and told me that he would like to by this RCA transformer but I told him that this fix was working nicely at this specific case ONLY because some king of specific problem took place in power lines and the isolation transformer was an accidently good fix. “Another day, with another defect of electricity, – the same transformer” – I told –“ would kill bass and compress sound”. Another day with the damn electricity….Rgs, Romy the caT
"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche